From the initial announcement of their formation, through the completion of the line-up and with a build-up of speculation and anticipation created by the release of the band photos, teaser samples and studio session videos, the wait for fans of new Japanese rock group Cilvie is over. The band providing an early Christmas present as they release their debut single Stray Sheep.
From the outset, heavy, bass-laden riffs and powerful drumbeats set the stage even as your foot begins tapping and the head begins nodding along with the rhythm. The intro, reminiscent of some western metal bands like Behemoth, overlaid in the lyric video with striking, unnerving imagery, strikes a tone for the song. It raises the level of anticipation with every chord and carries you on a journey through the song.
Delivered in a haunting and memorable way by Aoi, conveying a story of struggle and darkness, despair and pain, the lyrics and music combine to create a foreboding feeling, giving the sense of panic and fear that the subject would be feeling as they fight. The decision to release a song with lyrics that are wholly in English speaks to the desire of the members to connect with rock and metal fans outside of Japan.
In general, the composition is well thought out, the changes in speed and tone throughout the song are done in a way that belies the youth of the members. It is a very solid foundation for them to build upon. Providing a glimpse of the talents of each of the individual members as much as it shows the strength of the unit that they have formed. Going forward it is clear that they will continue to grow in confidence, developing and adapting their style as they become accustomed to the nuances of each member’s style and influence.
It is safe to say that 2020 has provided many challenges to everyone around the world, everyone has had to face their own struggle and overcome their own burdens. Stray Sheep is the culmination of a journey for members Koji (Gt.), Aoi (Vo.), Kazma (Dr.) and Vivi (Sp. Ba.) that saw them unable to meet and practice together earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they have managed to get through it with support from each other. While the power and energy of the song may seem familiar to fans of Koji and Vivi’s previous band Anlique, which was disbanded late in 2019, the same sense of artistry and power that has been brought into Cilvie, has blended with the influences and skills of the new members to create a strong, menacing sound. It is a culmination that will not disappoint their fans.